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The WNBA Playoffs is a best-of-three elimination tournament between the top four teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences to determine the two teams that will play in the WNBA Finals.
September 11: Final day of the regular season
September 15: First day of the WNBA Playoffs
October 2: First day of the WNBA Finals
October 12: Last possible day of the WNBA Finals
At the conclusion of the regular season, the top four teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs and are seeded one to four based on their regular season records. The team with the best record receives seed one, the team with the next best record receives seed two, and so on. If two teams have an equal record, tiebreaker rules determine which team receives the higher seed (see below for full explanation).
The seedings are used to create a bracket that determines the match-ups throughout the playoffs. The first round , also know as the Conference Semifinals, consists of two match-ups in each conference based on the seedings (1-4 and 2-3).
The two winners advance to the next round, the Conference Finals, with a match-up between the 1-4 and 2-3 winners. At the conclusion of the Conference Finals, the winners of these series advance to the WNBA Finals.
The Conference Semifinals and the Conference Finals are each best-of-three series. Series are played in a 1-1-1 format, with the team with home-court advantage (better record) hosting Games 1 and 3, while their opponent hosts Game 2.
The WNBA Finals is a best-of-five series played in a 2-2-1 format, with the team with home-court advantage hosting Games 1, 2, and 5 while their opponent hosts Games 3 and 4.
If two teams have the same record, tiebreaker following rules are used determine which team receives the higher seed.
(1) Better record in head-to-head games.
(2) Better winning percentage within own conference.
(3) Better winning percentage against all teams with .500 or better record at the end of the season.
(4) Better point differential in games head-to-head.
(5) Coin toss.
If more than two teams have the same record, the following tiebreaker rules are used to determine the seeds.
(1) Better winning percentage among all head-to-head games involving tied teams.
(2) Better winning percentage against teams within conference (if all teams are from the same conference) or better record against teams in the opposite conference (if one or more teams are in different conferences).
(3) Better winning percentage against all teams with a .500 or better record at the end of the season.
(4) Better point differential in games involving tied teams.
(5) Coin toss.
The Seattle Storm are the defending WNBA champions, having won the 2010 WNBA Finals over the Atlanta Dream in a three-game sweep. The Storm finished the regular season with the best record in the league (28-6) and was unbeaten in the Playoffs (7-0) on their way to their second WNBA title. Their first came in 2004.
Lauren Jackson, who won her third Most Valuable Player award for her play in the regular season, was also named Finals MVP after averaging 22.3 points and eight rebounds in the championship series. She became the fourth player to win MVP and Finals MVP in the same season, joining Cynthia Cooper (1997 and 1998), Lisa Leslie (2001) and Diana Taurasi (2009).
Complete List of WNBA Champions
|1997||Houston Comets||1-0||New York Liberty||Cynthia Cooper|
|1998||Houston Comets||2–1||Phoenix Mercury||Cynthia Cooper|
|1999||Houston Comets||2–1||New York Liberty||Cynthia Cooper|
|2000||Houston Comets||2–0||New York Liberty||Cynthia Cooper|
|2001||Los Angeles Sparks||2–0||Charlotte Sting||Lisa Leslie|
|2002||Los Angeles Sparks||2–0||New York Liberty||Lisa Leslie|
|2003||Detroit Shock||2–1||Los Angeles Sparks||Ruth Riley|
|2004||Seattle Storm||2–1||Connecticut Sun||Betty Lennox|
|2005||Sacramento Monarchs||3–1||Connecticut Sun||Yolanda Griffith|
|2006||Detroit Shock||3–2||Sacramento Monarchs||Deanna Nolan|
|2007||Phoenix Mercury||3–2||Detroit Shock||Cappie Pondexter|
|2008||Detroit Shock||3–0||San Antonio Silver Stars||Katie Smith|
|2009||Phoenix Mercury||3–2||Indiana Fever||Diana Taurasi|
|2010||Seattle Storm||3–0||Atlanta Dream||Lauren Jackson|